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Funding crisis hits government hard

The serious funding crisis in the DPP government that has seen, among others, public hospitals having no drugs and fuel for ambulances, has not spared Members of Parliament (MPs).

The MPs’ fuel allocation for the month of June was slashed by half from K300 000 to K150 000.

Speaker of Parliament, Richard Msowoya, confirmed in an interview the MPs’ plight.

“I have not yet received fuel as of today [Thursday]. I am in the constituency. That is how we are working, our country first. There were also committee meetings and they have not been given allowances. These are the things that we talk about sometimes but anyway…,” said Msowoya who did not wish to say much.

Karonga Central MP Frank Mwenefumbo said he had received half the required allocation of fuel for June.

He described the failure by Parliament to pay the full fuel as a sign that things are not going on well in the country.

Mwenefumbo said despite the shortage of funding in various government departments, some few rich people were not affected by the low funding levels

“For June, we received half the allocation. As for July we do not know. But that is being selfish by those in authority. That is an allowance which MPs need for their operations. Things are not supposed to be run like that. The gap between the rich and the poor is too large,” said Mwenefumbo.

MP for Chitipa South, Werani Chilenga, said on Thursday that he had not yet received his June fuel.

“And when we reach July 18, it will be two months without fuel because we normally get paid mid month. I will need to check tomorrow if fuel is loaded in my card,” said Chilenga.

Several other MPs we talked to echoed similar sentiments that they had received half fuel allocation while others said they were yet to receive it.

They said the fuel crisis affected their constituency businesses because mobility was a problem.

Asked to explain the fuel crisis at Parliament, Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya threw back the ball to Parliament saying it was better placed to comment.

“Let them tell their story and then come back to me,” he said.

Leader of the House, Francis Kasaila, said almost all government departments faced funding problems in June which were to do with technical and reconciliation of books since it was the last month of the financial year.

But he emphasized the fuel issue must be sorted out by Parliament.

“It is Parliamentary Service Commission to push for the payment. I am sure the MPs will be given their fuel,” said Kasaila.

Asked if the development was not denting the image of the Democratic Progressive Party government, Kasaila, who is also spokesperson for the party, pushed the blame to Treasury which he said needed to explain to Malawians what the problem was.

“It should be Treasury to tell us why we had problems in June. Was it the issue of system or money,” said Kasaila.

Funding crisis has hit government departments and public hospitals have borne the full brunt with patients in some cases being advised to bring their own food and ambulances grounded because there is no fuel.

Parliament just passed a K930 billion zero aid deficit budget which has gaps that need aid.

Donors suspended their budgetary aid to Malawi after theft of public money at Capital Hill dubbed as Cashgate.

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